“I love dancing,” says Diamond Rue, owner of Diamond Choreography. “I even dance in my sleep and I want to share this joy with others.” Rue teaches classes especially for quinceañera and sweet sixteen celebrations. Groups of five to 20, ages 10 to 19 years, take her classes to prepare for the special party.
“It’s my job to make the lessons fun for everyone, regardless of that person’s interest or ability,” she says. There are normally 10 practice sessions prior to the big event. The participants meet once a week for two to three hours. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the families really go all out,” adds Rue.
“I do not have a strict teaching style,” she says. “Everyone is motivated to do well so I simply guide them and make it as easy as possible. I want them to be comfortable dancing in front of an audience.” Dancing styles include waltz, Latin, jazz, modern and hip hop.
Rue is also a belly dance artist. “Five years ago, I went to a performance with a friend and was immediately captivated,” she says. She began dancing for festivals, weddings, birthday parties and charity events. She uses props such as zills (finger cymbals), veils and swords. She likes to involve her audiences in the show. “I once trained under an 80-year-old dancer,” says Rue. She joined a troupe for a while but now dances alone.
Rue’s love for dance began as a teenager when her mother was pursuing a dance, theater and drama degree at Queens University of New York. Rue also attended the classes and was allowed to perform during final exams. She learned several dance styles including modern, tap, jazz, ballet, African, Latin and Chinese. Rue continues to perfect her skills by attending dance classes and workshops.
Rue began her choreography business in 2019. She was encouraged by the owner of Elegant, a shop that specializes in formal wear and does event coordination. Her teaching takes her as far as Richmond, Chesapeake and Virginia Beach. Ninety percent of Rue’s business is teaching. “There are a lot of professional belly dancers in this area, so that business is very competitive. I love both teaching and performance,” she adds.
“All groups have differing abilities,” says Rue. “It takes tact and patience. Shy performers need more encouragement and experienced ones need to be ‘toned down.’” She also must be sure the planned performance is within the group’s capabilities. Simplifying may be necessary. “Above all, everyone should have fun,” she reminds the client.
Rue has a degree in computer-aided design (CAD) from Virginia Peninsula Community College (formerly Thomas Nelson Community College). She mostly works from home but does some work on ships for the military.
“I have gone to Hawaii, Kuwait, Seattle, Maine and Illinois,” she says. She has been in the design and engineering field for 21 years. For the past few years she has worked as a configuration manager for a defense contractor based in Virginia Beach.
Mother of two sons, ages 13 and 17, Rue says, “My boys will fill in as dancers if I really need them.” Rue likes to go to clubs with friends. “I enjoy the company of others,” she says. “However, walking on the beach and listening to audio books is also nice,” she adds.
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Contact: Diamond Rue, choreographer